Abantis Hopffer 1855

Cock, Matthew J. W. & Congdon, T. Colin E., 2011, Observations on the biology of Afro-tropical Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera) principally from Kenya. Part 2. Pyrginae: Tagiadini 2893, Zootaxa 2893 (1), pp. 1-66 : 44

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https://doi.org/ 10.11646/zootaxa.2893.1.1

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scientific name

Abantis Hopffer 1855


Abantis Hopffer 1855 View in CoL

This genus was erected with A. tettensis Hopffer as type species and contains more than 20 African species ( Hopffer 1855, Ackery et al. 1995). Evans (1937) characterized the genus by the stout blunt antennal club bent at its commencement, recalling the American Pyrrhopyginae ; palpi short, porrect; outline of wings even; hind tibiae with two pairs of spurs, the upper pair very small; no secondary sexual characters; the uncus “always asymmetric and the aedeagus emerges on the right, viewed from behind”.

The genus contains some of the aristocrats of the skipper world. All species are moderately large, many are brightly coloured and all seem to be uncommon wherever they are found. Several species have been described since Evans’ (1937) treatment—see Evans (1947), Berger (1978), Usher (1984), Collins & Larsen (1994), and Mendes & Bivar de Souza (2009). Most are rare or very rare in collections, and this may reflect that they are canopy fliers. They are most often seen as hill-toppers. They nectar with their wings spread flat, but when hill-topping or feeding at “water or foul substances”, they may close their wings ( Larsen 2005). The life histories of most species are unknown or have not been previously documented, except for some South African species (Clark in Dickson & Kroon 1978).

TCEC has noted that in the shelters made by the first two instars of Abantis caterpillars, the main vein is cut so that the shelter dries out and may shrivel; the shelter shown in Figure 36.3 View FIGURE 36 matches this observation. However, based on limited observations, MJWC noted that A. paradisea formed a shelter bridge incorporating a vein. It may well be that caterpillar shelter-making behaviour differs between species or between food plants, or that inclusion of the vein in the bridge depends on the random placement of the shelter, so careful systematic observations are needed on this point for the genus.











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